Friday, November 19, 2010

Plastics in the Recycling System

-- Quote of the Day --

Trees are very important as well, so when I say that 70% of the oxygen that is produced on the planet comes from the ocean – it is not the ocean itself, it is the phytoplankton. …40% of the world’s supply is dependent on the oceans. ...what is being done today? The garbage is still being open-burned in an open pit. …All of that garbage ends up in the landfills where it leaks out and ends up in our food supply, in our lakes and streams… and where does it end up after? The ocean is the lowest water table - so everything flows there.  …The key is education.”

Reef rescue Foundation – Dirk Beckman, sept 30
This quote was taken from a Conscious Discussions Talk radio show interview that aired back on Sept 30th, 2010... check out the Reef Rescue Foundation interview via the hyper-linked show title - or check out the list of archives on our site: - or look to the side bars on this blog for more recently aired episodes.  

-- Positive Eco-News --

According to Recycling Product News: “… Natural State Research Inc. (NSR) recently announced the discovery of a unique formula to make liquid fuel from waste plastic. Dr. Sarker and his team of research chemists have developed a formula to take most types of plastic and turn them into liquid fuel. 95 % of the plastic is turned into liquid fuel while the remaining 5 % can be used as a substitute for coal with a higher BTU value."  

This is a really interesting concept that may help to keep plastics, especially those not yet accepted in recycling systems, out of the landfill - saving valuable space. The fuel, which could be produced locally, could also fuel city, airport and other vehicle fleets in the area.

A report titled "Life Cycle Inventory of Post-Consumer PET and HDPE Recycled Resin..." has proven that recycling plastic saves energy. To produce clean recycled resin uses about 71 trillion BTU less than what is required to produce the same amount of virgin resin. This energy saved is enough to power 750,000 American homes for a year!

One must also consider that most of the major markets for recycled plastic materials are located in China, India and Indonesia, which currently have the highest demand for this material. This means there is a lot of shipping and handling involved for recycling this material.

Here's an idea as to what happens to the plastics once they hit the recycling system (from the Zero Waste San Diego Group):

PET plastics are made into new containers, trays, fiber fill for jackets or as a component in making fabric material.
HDPE & Polypropylene plastics are created into pipes, parts or blown into film. They are used to make rigid containers: laundry baskets, pots, and trays, totes and so on. 
LDPE plastics are made back into tubes for caulking, glue and so on.
Styrenes (such as yogurt containers) can be used as a component in making TV sets and other electronics.
PVC recycled plastics are turned into pipes and window extrusions, among other things.
Injection plastics (items created via molds: toys, etc) are used to again and again for the same purpose. 

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